July 25, 2012

Review: Café Escapes Café Caramel Vue Packs for Keurig Vue Brewing Systems

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Up next in our line of Vue Pack reviews are the Café Escapes Café Caramel Vue Packs. These are billed in the specialty drink category and are the first powdered ingredient Vue Pack we've tried so far. On top of that, we're total suckers for anything caramel-flavored, so we grabbed a box of these as soon as we could. We were curious to see how the blending of 3 separate powdered ingredients would mesh together... powdered milk creamer, caramel flavoring and instant coffee (yes, you read that correctly... INSTANT coffee). For those of you who haven't run out of the room screaming in terror yet, we'll get started now.

Brewing these Vue Packs resulted in rich scents of caramel along with faint butterscotch notes hiding underneath. As for the coffee, we only got faint notes of it here. We were glad the predominant scent here was caramel instead of coffee since we feel this is a specialty drink with hints of coffee, not a coffee with hints of caramel.

Flavor was indeed abundant in caramel with nice milky notes underneath. The addition of instant coffee seemed to give things a rather weird taste that seemed off at first, until we reminded ourselves of the word Café in the flavor name (For some reason, we were expecting a caramel-flavored milk drink in our minds). Once we got accustomed to it, it blended in pretty well. You definitely get more of a caramel taste up front with the instant coffee flavor poking your taste buds afterwards reminding you that there is indeed a coffee component in this drink.

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Body was an opaque light beige which was a bit darker than what you'd see in a latte and looked pretty spot-on to the colors of Werther's caramels. Acidity was non-existent since what we thought was acidity at first turned out to be the coffee flavor in the background. Since this is supposed to be a sweet drink, the lack of acidity was much appreciated.

Mouth feel was silky smooth and only further aided by the powdered milk which gave things an almost creamy texture. Somewhat dry finish with only slight hints of caramel & coffee in the aftertaste. The only thing that put us off were the bitter notes in the coffee during the aftertaste. We would have preferred if only caramel were present here, but we admit that's mostly because we're addicted to caramel.

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Since the strong feature is disabled when brewing Tea/Other drinks, we do not have a secondary score for this Vue Pack and the primary score resumes its role in determining the overall rating.

  • Aroma - 10 - Straight-up rich caramel scents up front with butterscotch and faint hints of coffee in the background. Superb.
  • Acidity - 10 - None whatsoever, helps the flavors and mouth feel of this sweet drink shine through to their full potential and doesn't impede anything.
  • Body - 10 - An opaque light beige. It's like someone melted a bag of Werther's caramels into the cup. Mmm...
  • Flavor - 8 - Once we got over the strange sensation of coffee being present in what can amount to hot cocoa-style caramel milk, we thought the milky caramel & coffee flavors blended together nicely. We would have still preferred more caramel, but that's our own fault since we're nutters for caramel.
  • Mouth Feel - 9 - Smooth overall with an almost creamy texture. Rather dry finish with some caramel & coffee notes in the aftertaste. The coffee notes seem a tad bitter & we wished they would have been noticeable here.
  • Coffee Drinker - If you like caramel & enjoy milky drinks with lightly creamy textures, then you'll like this. Suited best for those who like specialty drinks which are more on the indulgent side of things vs. regular coffee.

Overall Rating: 97 - Excellent

Overall, when we saw the powdered ingredients in the bottom of the Vue Pack, we had our doubts if this would turn out to be anything other than an over-sweetened or watered-down mess, but using the default 8oz size yielded rather enjoyable results. You actually get the aromas & flavors of what's printed on the label/packaging and as we've seen all too many times with K-Cups, that's a rare occurrence.

While we can't quite say we've had a drink like this before (a caramel macchiato isn't quite the same thing), we liked the idea of taking caramel milk, doing it up hot cocoa style and adding coffee to it. We don't think there's anything else quite like it and as Martha Stewart would say: That's a good thing.

Café Escapes Café Caramel Vue Packs is one of the many Keurig Vue Packs available for the Keurig Vue V700 Single Cup Brewing System, and you can also read our full review here. The Keurig Vue Packs are not compatible with older Keurig K-Cup systems. The Keurig Vue V700 isn't presently sold in Canada, but Canadians can order these Vue Packs from Keurig.com if they're willing to pay a $10 FedEx brokerage fee.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note we purchased a box of these Vue Packs on our own for the purpose of this review.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at July 25, 2012 7:59 AM

Recent Comments

This is one of the things that has always left me disappointed with my Keurig machine… the over-use of powder. These are marketed as premium machines that can make premium coffee house beverages and we pay way more than premium prices for them. When I’m spending this much I don’t want something that can be poured out of a packet into boiling water with the same results.

Our first experience with Café Escapes was with their mocha because that is my wife’s coffeehouse beverage of choice. What a huge disappointment that was. She took 2 sips and the rest of the cup went down the drain and the rest of the box went in the trash. The second, third and fourth were the chai latte, dark hot chocolate, and cider. Again, nothing more than what I could get in packet form in the grocery store. In fact (and I’m ashamed to admit this) my wife prefers the little boxes of International Delight to anything in the Café Escapes line. I can’t say that I blame her though. The end result tastes better and is a fraction of the cost.

I just think that if we are paying out the nose for Kcups that GMCR should respect us enough to put better ingredients inside. I know you gave this one a good review but I gave them the benefit of 4 strikes and I just can’t do it anymore. No more powder for me.


Posted by: ao at July 25, 2012 8:54 AM
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